Ashrawi Condemns Israeli settlement building plans

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PLO Executive Member Dr. Hanan  Ashrawi  said in press reles on Israel’s expansion of its illegal settlement enterprise in and around Occupied Jerusalem “We strongly denounce plans by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to build 560 units in the illegal settlement of Maale Adumim and 240 units in the illegal settlements of Ramot, Gilo and Har Homa.

By isolating Jerusalem from its Palestinian environs and ethnically cleansing the occupied city of its indigenous population, the Israeli government is bent on destroying the viability, integrity and territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital she said.

Israel is going too far with the expansion of its illegal settlement enterprise and its blatant disregard for international law and conventions, standing UN resolutions and global consensus. The continued theft of Palestinian land and the increase in settlements constitute serious and grave threats to security and stability within the region and beyond.

We also deplore the announcement by Netanyahu and Lieberman to expand and intensify settlement activities in Hebron, including the approval of the construction of an additional 42 units in the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, and to employ extreme measures of collective punishment. Such critical Israeli escalation paints a grim picture and provokes further anger, violence and extremism.

These decisions come two days following the release of the Middle East Quartet’s report which flagrantly accommodates Israel’s demands and violations, equates a vulnerable people under a brutal military occupation with a ruthless occupier and falls below the minimum requirements for peace.

We call on all members of the international community to uphold their moral, legal and political responsibilities and to hold Israel to account for its blatant violations of international law and consensus. The chances for the two-state solution are rapidly disappearing; if Israel is not stopped, extremism and violence will prevail.”